Case Studies/Nine Inch Nails The Slip

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NIN, fan, remix, business model


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The Slip, a ten-track album by American band Nine Inch Nails (NIN), is the second artistic release made available to fans ‘for free’ under a Creative Commons licence.

thank you for your continued and loyal support over the years - this one’s on me — Trent Reznor,


‘It’s loud, abrasive, difficult, angry, explosive, and, oh yeah, absolutely free.’ Beacon News

Two months after the release of Ghosts I-IV, prominent and polemic American noir rock band Nine Inch Nails has licensed a second album under Creative Commons, The Slip. Pitched as ‘one hundred percent free’ by front man Trent Reznor, The Slip (aka Halo 27) has been proclaimed as a further challenge to the music industry, defining an alternative path for musicians interested in the self-promotion of works. Available for digital download in an array of formats – mp3, lossless FLAC, m4a, and the impressive higher-than-CD quality 24-bit, 96kHz .wav files via torrents – the ten tracks are readily remixable via their multi-track audio source files at The release also includes a pdf with artwork and credits.

Pre-empting the album release, the single Discipline was distributed freely via the official NIN site in April 2008, and a second, Echoplex, was released for free from iLike. The Slip’s track listing is as follows:

  1. 999,999 – 1:25
  2. 1,000,000 – 3:56
  3. Letting You – 3:49
  4. Discipline – 4:19
  5. Echoplex – 4:45
  6. Head Down – 4:55
  7. Lights in the Sky – 3:29
  8. Corona Radiata – 7:33
  9. The Four of Us Are Dying – 4:37
  10. Demon Seed – 4:59

To cater for the substantial fan base interested in acquiring sought-after merchandise, NIN also intends to release the album on vinyl and CD under a variable pricing model over the American summer period.

License Usage

NIN actively encourages its fan base to engage with its music, through redistribution and remix via audio tracks at and user-generated film festivals on YouTube. As with Ghosts I-IV, The Slip is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States licence. NIN’s intention with this release is clear, as per the download site:

‘we encourage you to
remix it
share it with your friends,
post it on your blog,
play it on your podcast,
give it to strangers,

In contrast to services which prevent re-distribution of tracks, all files are 100% DRM-free.


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